Once seen as a term defining physical health, the remit of “wellness” has expanded well beyond diet, exercise, and cosmetic care, more recently shining a spotlight on female health to represent ‘complete’ wellness.
Increased awareness around menstrual health & hygiene, higher disposable income, and strong women empowerment following a vast amount of campaigns has led to more demand and accelerated growth in this space. This provides a huge opportunity for brands, as recent research shows 85% of women who regularly buy beauty products also say they purchase intimate care, to make sure all body parts are cared for.
Feminine hygiene products have previously faced backlash for creating and exploiting women’s anxieties about their bodies, created to keep women’s intimate areas “fresh”, however, more recently they are adopting PR strategies to position themselves as advocates and champions for women’s health. Brands such as Femfresh have utilised external experts to feature as spokespeople in features such as ‘Vagina Mythbusting’ – educating consumers on common false information shared around intimate care. In turn, the global feminine hygiene market is predicted to grow by more than 22% in the next two years, currently valued at £17.2 billion (source).
This also extends to menstrual wellness. When Mooncup was established as the first silicone menstrual cup to enter the UK in 2002, the brand’s founders reported facing enormous backlash for openly discussing periods – meaning early customer acquisition was limited. Since its launch 20 years ago the brand has executed various PR tactics– including a partnership with environmental organization City to Sea to tackle climate change, the ‘Love Your Vagina’ campaign to establish the pet names women call their vaginas, and extensive founder profiling & interviews, stating the business will not move into new product categories in order to stay committed to its environmental roots – and the global menstrual cup market is now reported to reach $1,230 million by 2027 (source).
This has led to more brands outside of the wellness space diversifying their creative strategies to embrace female health, in line with the news agenda. In response to Scotland’s decision to make period products free, Brewdog invented a ‘Bloody Good Beer’ to raise funds for the Bloody Good Period organisation. PANTONE also made headlines for its collaboration with feminine care brand Intimina to launch an official shade of period red, while Adidas created a line of period-proof activewear in response to its consumer research finding one in four women drop out of sport while menstruating.
At The PHA Group, we are experienced in supporting and advising brands to devise effective strategies in the female wellness space, as shown by our work with My Expert Midwife to break down taboos around women’s’ bodies throughout pregnancy and childbirth. One of the campaigns we worked collaboratively with the brand to launch was ‘#KnowYourBits’. This informative campaign worked to educate audiences of their ‘bits’ through a series of tactics. Our activity to launch the campaign included conducting consumer research to gain an understanding of how much women knew about the female anatomy – of which the results were turned into a compelling news story, highlighting the fact 66% of women felt there was a stigma associated with discussing the vagina during pregnancy and childbirth. This activity was complimented with the recruitment of parenting influencers Sarah-Jane Crawford, Ashley James and Lisa Parkins, who hosted a series of Instagram Lives with My Expert Midwife, to ignite honest conversations around the realities of women’s bodies during pregnancy and gifting a bundle of products to select media and influencers to secure product placement coverage. Overall, our campaign achieved a combined reach of 5.1 million through media and influencer coverage and helped to shift the dial in audiences’ understanding and knowledge of women’s experiences during pregnancy and childbirth.
As demand and interest in this market continues to grow, it is vital brands show authenticity by targeting a diverse range of audiences – considering the needs of LGBTQ+ consumers and women from different ethnic groups – and recognise and address issues in the women’s health space.
Research shows 80% of people globally plan to increase their wellness spending this year, despite inflationary pressures, meaning now is the time for brands to invest in strong media and digital strategies to ensure they are reaching their target audiences. It’s not enough today for products to solely provide solutions to problems. Instead, brands must develop their own persona & voice and be seen to be championing consumers – appearing as supporters, not just sellers.